aesthetics

Resolutions

Driving at 70 miles per hour, the landscape dissolves into colors and concepts. Impressions coalesce into ideas, particles into patterns. It may seem like a paradox, but the faster we go, the clearer we can see. At high speeds, we can tune out the noise and see the forest for the trees. Our focus is on the destination.

At 30 miles per hour, the landscape resolves into discrete objects. We can now make out individual trees, buildings, the faces of drivers and pedestrians. Below 15 miles per hour, finally, we start to perceive a sense of place. We can make out the details of the objects around us, including their textures and physical properties. Any destination seems far more distant now.

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The aesthetic plane in space

Felice Varini (1996)

Felice Varini (1996)

My interest in the geometric plane within a three-dimensional space probably stems from it existing as a concept without true precedent in reality—yet, unlike the pure, unsituated two-dimensional surface, it simulates an aspect of reality, namely a spatial arrangement conveying, or representing, an experience. As such, it exists at the threshold of the real, yet is at the same time inherently conceptual.

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Thoughts on universal design / 1 comment

I recently spoke to a student about the goals of the One Laptop per Child user interface, and was surprised at how difficult it was to answer the question as to how I felt about taking a ‘universal’ design approach. I was quick to defend my belief in universal design as a means by which to broaden access to, or appreciation of, any designed object, acknowledging that design is necessarily subjective. Yet on further reflection, is universality ever achievable? Is it presumptuous, as designers, to think that we could design an interface that would be universally understandable?

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